Azarenka, Williams to meet in semifinals

Jan. 3, 2013 at 7:06 AM
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BRISBANE, Australia, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams both won Thursday, setting up a marquee semifinal at the Brisbane International tennis tournament.

Friday's semifinal match pits the world No. 1 in Azarenka against Williams, No. 3 in the rankings but who had a sterling second half of the 2012 season. Williams owns a lopsided 11-1 career record over Azarenka and has won the last nine times they played. That includes a 5-0 mark in 2012 during which Williams topped Azarenka in the finals of the U.S. Open and the semifinals at the Olympics and Wimbledon.

Azarenka gained the semifinals shot at Williams with a 6-1, 6-0 romp over Ksenia Pervak. The only game she lost was on serve as Azarenka won 70 percent of the points off Pervak's serve.

Williams defeated Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3 by finishing off her lone break chance in each set. Williams lost only 16 points on serve and won the only two break points she saw from Stephens.

The other semifinal sends unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against Lesia Tsurenko, who was dropped into the draw when Maria Sharapova withdrew with an injury. Pavlyuchenkova won in their only previous meeting.

Pavlyuchenkova ousted fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) on Thursday while Tsurenko was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Daniela Hantuchova.

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